Well you may get to have your cake and eat it too. Check out the Freud SD208. It is an excellent 8" set and you can pick it up online for about $90. It will be close to $100 in a retail store. I believe that Freud also makes a 6" set (SD206).
The Freud set has gotten very good reviews and I will add my own positive opinion as well. I have owned the set for over a year and I really like it. Smooth cuts and no tear out.
Mike I woudl go with the Freud two chipper set. Under $100 and gives a decent cut.
I would also go with a 6" set NOT an 8". I know folks have done it with a bit of a work-around. but Ryobi reccomends (or at least used to) use a 6" set only. The 8" adds a lot more steel flying around and a good deal more stress on the saw.
If you can find the 6" Freud, I, too, would go for that. I couldn't find the 6 " set locally, so bought the Freud 8" set. It is a good set, and I am satisfied with it.
Some of VA's stuff is alright. They also make a number of items for Craftsman, i.e. the "Universal" router base sold under the Craftsman label is the identical item to the one sold at Lowes/HD under the VA label.
When it comes to cutters, be they saw blades, router bits,or what have you, cheap is expensive. Expensive in ruined stock and expensive in replaceing it with a quality item.
The Freud set compared positively with Freuds "Pro" set and several other really high dollar production shop dado heads. The cuts were as clean or cleaner than sets costing much more. The benefit the more expensive sets gave was in speed and longevity. Cuts a bit slower and don't expect to do too many big production runs with it before it wears out, but it should last a good long time in a home shop.
I don't use dado blades very often so I didn't want to spend a lot, but the old craftsman I used went dull and since I work with particle board and MDF felt I needed carbide.
I bought an 8 inch set with two cutter blades and 6 chipper blades with 5 teeth each and 8 brass shims. It cost $50 in the current Amazon Tool Crib catalog. It is called "Avenger" I don't know the company that makes it but it appears to be well made.
It is made in China. It arrived missing one of the 1/8" chipper blades but A phone call produced a replacement in 3 days.
The manual that came with it is suggests that the company that sells this tool knows their stuff when it comes to carbide.
I have only used it once, in MDF. It cuts a dead smooth bottom.
it might not work for a production shop but for what use I will make of it I feel I made a good choice. I use it in an antique 10" Craftsman radial arm saw. It is the best, Cast iron arm, Motor carraige rides on ball bearings, up front controls. Better than anything they have made in years.
Checkout the Freud SD206 ($74.99) or SD208 ($84.99) at Amazon.com. You might also try doing a search for those two blades, to see if you can find a lower price?! I have the Freud SD506 that I use with my Dewalt DW744 and it works great!!!!!
I have the Freud 8" set on a BT3000. It works fine. The 6" is preferable, but I couldn't find it when I was looking (needed something that day, couldn't wait for mailorder). The "necessity" of having an 8" dado set is pretty remote for a weekend hobbyist. With the 6", you can cut dadoes over an inch deep. The 8" gives you up to 2" depth, but I can't imagine when I would want to cut a 2" deep dadoe. The 6" puts less strain on the saw.
I have to throw in my 2 cents re: the Avenger mentioned in Cherry's post above. My experience with it has not been good. The center hole on one of the chippers is too tight and its a pain in the @#!! to get it off the saw every time I use it. Also one of the copper shims has a double hole (looks like the number 8!) and wobbles around...definitely makes me suspect of their QA. Needless to say I wish I would have spent my 59 bucks on a Freud or more of a brand name. Boyd